Jim strode off down the centre aisle towards management, dodging a couple
of kids as he went. That was too weird. He started to wonder if he was
somehow in the wrong store. This part of the shop was just a typical
little kid's area full of dolls and figurines, and the rest looked no
better off. There's no way this could've happened to Grandall's
overnight, he thought.
Passing one of the shelves, Jim heard something over the loud activity of
the children. Something even more artificial, out of place. He frowned
and turned to the source.
One of the Superman action figures stood upright. The figurine was
talking. Jim leant closer to hear it over the surrounding noise.
It spoke in an annoying, high-pitched tone quite unlike Superman: "Hey,
kids! Don't we all just love the Boss?"
"Huh?" Jim muttered.
"The Boss is our friend! We should do what he says!"
Jim scowled. This practical joke was getting stranger and more elaborate
by the minute. He grabbed the action figure off the shelf and marched up
to management. He slammed the door open and marched up to the front desk.
"Jim," his boss said. "Good, you're here. We'll need you in aisle three
"What happened to Grandalls?" Jim snapped.
His boss frowned at him. "Well there's no need to be upset, Jim. You're
late, y'know. I could dock you for that." He cleared his throat and stood
up, turning to face a window leading out to the rest of the mall. "We've
just had a quick rennovation, that's all." There was something sinister
about his demenor.
"A 'quick rennovation? That's an understatement!" Jim shoved the Superman
figure in his face. "What do you call this?"
On cue, the figurine whirred to life. "We love the boss!"
His boss sighed. "Well, I can tell you don't plan to cooperate. Maybe you
should sit down, Jim. I'll explain."
They both took a seat on either end of desk. Jim crossed his arms,
expecting nothing less than a damned good explanation. His boss leant
forwards and removed his glasses.
"You see, Jim, Grandalls was failing right from the start. I never was
quite satisfied with it. I've opened more horizon to more... ambitious
"You mean this kid's store?" Jim said. "'TF Inc.'?"
"Er... yes. They're springing up all over the country even as we speak
for kids to take home my own home-made products. It's an ingenious plan,
months in the making. Each toy is programmed to encourage the kids to
worship the Boss... that is, me. Soon enough they'll dominate the
children's market and I'll have complete control over the nation's youth.
I could make them do anything. Rebel, take over the country, bomb Pearl
Jim stared at him, bewildered.
"And since you show no intention of playing along," he continued, "I'm
going to have to deal with you..."
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